08.02.2016 12:00 AM

This week’s column: be silent, Twitter warriors 

Ah, the Twitter warriors. 

Sirius XM’s Charles Adler first drew it to my attention, on his popular satellite radio program. An octogenarian Roman Catholic priest was slaughtered by ISIS subhumans in France, his throat slit at the altar. Charles read out the Twitter response of Stephane Dion, our minister of Foreign Affairs:

 “Saddened to hear of hostage taking in #Normandy <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Normandy?src=hash> church resulting in death of priest. Canada stands together with #France <https://twitter.com/hashtag/France?src=hash> #Rouen <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rouen?src=hash> .”

 Then Charles read aloud what Jason Kenney tweeted, the guy running for the Alberta PC leadership while drawing a federal MP’s salary: 

 “A ‘hostage taking resulting in death?’ It was a premeditated terrorist murder: Priest forced to kneel, throat cut.”

 Charles wanted to know what I thought about that exchange. So I told him Dion’s words were wholly inadequate. The murder of a frail old priest, in a sanctuary that provides only love and fellowship? That wasn’t merely something to be “saddened” about. It was disgusting, despicable, diabolic crime. It wasn’t just “sad.” It was Satanic. It was, per Shakespeare, the actual thing of darkness.

So, Charles asked, was Jason Kenney – again, an Alberta politician drawing a generous federal salary – right in what he said? I guess so, I told Charles. But, I added: “Jason Kenney is full of crap.” In fact, he’s the worst kind of loathsome hypocrite. He’s got his head fully up his ass, I told Charles.

Let me explain. Kenney, back when he was somewhat relevant, was often referred to as Stephen Harper’s Minister of Everything. Perhaps he was. He was Minister of Employment and Social Development; he was Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism; he was Minister of Defence. In his day, he had armies and tanks at his disposal. He had billions of dollars and thousands of public servants to deploy as he saw fit. He had power, real power.

But what happened when tough-talking Jason had the power to do something about terror? Well, on just one day, an ISIS fanatic carried a gun to the War Memorial, murdered a soldier, jogged across Wellington, commandeered a minister’s car, drove it to Centre Block, shot up the place, and then got into a gun battle with some guards and cops.

What did Jason Kenney do to prevent that from happening? Nothing. But he certainly kept tweeting away about it, sitting in some hiding place somewhere. Before Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s family could be properly notified – while the crisis was still unfolding, in fact, and when the Department of National Defence had declared “there will be no public release of his name or condition until it is certain all information is accurate and the family has agreed to do so” – Kenney’s corpulent little thumbs tapped out a tweet that disclosed that a soldier, later identified as Cirillo, had been killed.

Ah, the Twitter warrior, I said to Charles. The cyber-combatant. The one who dispenses John Wayne tough-guy talk from the safety of the sidelines – and occasionally violates DND rules, so as to look like he’s in charge, a la Alexander Haig.

Charles Adler was surprised by my total contempt for Jason Kenney, I think. He asked why I was so exercised about all this.

Here’s what I said, almost word for word: “I’ve written a lot of words for politicians over the years. So I tend to be skeptical about a lot of things they say. And I’m particularly skeptical about Twitter tough talk. Donald Trump has built a career on Twitter. What matters is what Bill Clinton did [after the Oklahoma City terror attack]: he hunted them down, applied justice, and he put them to death.”

So Charles let me go on: “Jason Kenney is full of crap. When he was there, and when he was in a position to do something about terror…he didn’t. I don’t think we should be taking any lessons from Jason Kenney. And, you know, I’m just kind of sick of political people, and a lot of cops, talking tough about this stuff – but, every day, bad things keep happening, like what happened in France. So, you know what, guys? Maybe you should all get off Twitter, and get your heads out of your asses, and maybe you should start doing something different from what you’ve been doing – because your little Twitter wars really aren’t protecting us, the citizens. Because Twitter wars, about who can express themselves with a tougher adjective? They’re all crap.”

Charles Adler told me that I should share my words with you, and now I have. My free advice to political people stands: save your puny “our thoughts and prayers go out to [fill in the day’s victims].” Save your Jason Kenney-style tweets, Twitter warriors.

Get off Twitter and go and actually do something. Because what you’ve been doing, to date, hasn’t worked – for us, the people you have sworn to protect.





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    BillBC says:

    I don’t have a Twitter account. I think Tweets are irritating and hard to read, especially when they have lots of hashtags. Twitter is mostly a tool for reporters anxious for a quick and easy headline.

    Re the French priest. Yes. Good for you for saying it.

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    Dan Calda says:

    Complete and utter horseshit.

    We need protection…from the politicos that state they will keep us safe.

    Only a well integrated society can keep one “safe”.
    Only when the French realize that fact…will their problems subside.

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    Well doing something about it is” A) beyond the capabilities of Kenney. B) Counterproductive to maintaining a heightened sense of unease and outright fear amongst the electorate. The actual problem is not the terrorist attacks per se, it is how well they are used to generate fear. We are not fearful of driving cars, or building houses of wood, even though these things kill so many people every year. We try to manage the risks a little, and generally bow down to those making lots and lots of money peddling the goods. But we are SO FEARFUL of ‘The Other’ that we tie ourselves in knots, and slaughter innocents by the thousand. In response to such tweets. Yech.

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